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Author Topic: 13 songs....4 days  (Read 4997 times)

j.hall

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13 songs....4 days
« on: January 29, 2007, 10:02:38 pm »

i just mixed 13 songs in 4 days (mon - thursday of last week actually) and i'm doing recalls tomorrow on the whole thing.

so....aside from cranking this thing out at lightning speed, i had a few thoughts to toss out.

1.  there was no time, nor budget to use samples for the drums (even though i really wanted to) and on top of that, the artist said no dice to samples.  

this forces you to "make it work".  typically, i'm not that happy with this, but i'm a pretty laid back guy and i don't express that to the artist.  in this case, i think it was a great excercise in getting creative with the drums to pull it off.  they were recorded very dark and the drums themselves had a few unappealing issues.

2.  mixing at this speed forces you to make fast decisions and go with your gut constantly.  i found it really refreshing to NOT have options.  the first thing i thought of per tune, was exactly what i did.

i'd prefer not to work at this speed all the time, but i did find it quite enjoyable.

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John Suitcase

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Re: 13 songs....4 days
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2007, 01:19:54 am »

So, on a project like that, do you get a basic setup, then tweak for each song? Or do you start from scratch for each tune? I can see advantages to both, of course...

I think there's something to be said for working with what's there. It's easy in this age of samples and reamping to try to get things sounding 'perfect' when what really is important is character.

I'm trying to think of mixing the way a 7 year old would do it. Get rid of all the preconceived ideas about what sounds 'good' and stick to what sounds cool.

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resolectric

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Re: 13 songs....4 days
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2007, 06:59:13 am »

I believe independent production budgets in the U.S. are quite different from the budgets we get this side of the Atlantic.

Most of the time a band here has enough to pay for 12 hour studio time and, in that time, they have to record 10 to 12 songs, mix and master all of them. Finished product in a couple of days. That's about a US$400 budget.
The albums are released and, quite often, they're getting airplay and some credit from their public and music critics.

How much do independent labels invest on studio time in the US?
And, what really is an "independent production/label" over there?

The one that is now considered the most important independent label in Portugal (www.bor-land.com) is run by two students, from the apartment of one of them and has a budget of, i guess, some US$10.000 per year to invest in production (recording) and CD manufacturing.
None of the albums they release is profitable in sales and i believe most of the income results from concerts they promote through the released CDs.
CD distribution is independent, of course, and is mostly based on bona-fide display in a few record stores or internet sales.

So, when they bring a band to my studio it usuallly means: get it done in a couple of days for 500 bucks.

Do you get anything similar?

What i mean by this is: working fast, capturing the performance, the whole band playing at once and recording simultaneously, overdubbed vocals... al in one day. Mix and master the following day.
Everyday.
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rankus

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Re: 13 songs....4 days
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2007, 01:50:43 pm »

 Shocked

Wow!

I generaly do an independant album in about 100-150 hours at a rate of $30.00 per hour.... This does not include mastering which I strongly encourage bands to have done by a pro....

This is as low as I will go...
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pg666

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Re: 13 songs....4 days
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2007, 02:15:21 pm »

13 songs in 4 days isn't bad at all if it's a monotonous type of sound with the same setup throughout (think: punk rock album). you spend 8 hours on the first song and then make only necessary tweaks from there-on-out. i don't necessarily see it as a negative thing; some of the best albums ever are made this way.

but yeah, if the songs are diverse and there are lots of overdubs, it would be quite the challenge.
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j.hall

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Re: 13 songs....4 days
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2007, 09:47:52 pm »

well, for one, i quite enjoyed this session for reasons stated above.

secondly, i had clusters of songs with the same vibe and feel.  so general things like Drum treatments could be copied to every song, but i had to basically mix each tune from scratch.

i mixed 4 the first day and 3 each of the other days.

i recalled 13 tunes today and i'm beat.

i think the record turned out cool.

once it's mastered and done, i'll toss an mp3 up for all to hear.
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compasspnt

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Re: 13 songs....4 days
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2007, 12:29:50 am »

Good.

Then we won't have to BUY it!
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resolectric

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Re: 13 songs....4 days
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2007, 06:07:02 am »

pg666 wrote on Tue, 30 January 2007 19:15

...spend 8 hours on the first song ...

That's what i manage to do on major productions around here.
Most of the time it's 8 hours, all songs tracked.

rankus: yes, i know it's hard but indie production with money to spend is a seldomly seen luxury.

You can imagine how glad i am when indie clients come here and ask for a full week studio time. I think to myself: wow! I'll be able to equalize the vocals and put more than a single SM57 on the guitar amps. Razz
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j.hall

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Re: 13 songs....4 days
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2007, 10:33:46 am »

compasspnt wrote on Tue, 30 January 2007 23:29

Good.

Then we won't have to BUY it!



when you hear the one tune, you'll rush to iTunes and buy the whole record.

then again, i'll most likely direct you to the band's myspace account where you can hear my mix brutalized by their codec.
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Electric Warrior

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Re: 13 songs....4 days
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2007, 01:59:38 pm »

where is this "itunes" place? Can I buy CDs there? Wink
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Iain Graham

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Re: 13 songs....4 days
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2007, 06:10:58 pm »

I'm usually expected to mix a 12 song album in 3 days.

It makes it tough to catch different vibes from different songs properly without copying settings from song to song.

Luckily I mix ITB apart from some 2 bus compression and EQ, so the inevitable recall isn't a problem.

The artist always seems to grudge having to come back in.

Does no-one understand mixing and why it takes time nowadays?

Just because the recording process has been sped up, doesn't mean mixing is that much faster. Does it?
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Iain Graham

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compasspnt

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Re: 13 songs....4 days
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2007, 06:57:07 pm »

Iain Graham wrote on Wed, 31 January 2007 18:10


Just because the recording process has been sped up, doesn't mean mixing is that much faster. Does it?


It should not be.  In fact, recording that quickly might even necessitate more detailed mixing.
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xonlocust

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Re: 13 songs....4 days
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2007, 01:38:22 pm »

pussy.

i just finished mixing 12 songs in 1.25 days.  well, 1.5 with the 2 recalls i did - and it's the best sounding record i've done yet.

Smile

Iain Graham

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Re: 13 songs....4 days
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2007, 05:59:12 pm »

Even on records where there is a bit of time to spend on  the recording, people seem to think mixing will be an easy, quick process.

I've yet to figure out why that is.
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Iain Graham

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Iain Graham

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Re: 13 songs....4 days
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2007, 06:06:12 pm »

To add to that, there's then a steady stream of short tweaking sessions, that cause everyone involved stress and problems that would be easily solved if there was enough time to actually live with the mixes a little as they were being done instead of getting them close and printing them at that. Then making smalle changes 2 or 3 or 4 times each.

And it takes the same amount of time to do it either way in the end up.  Rolling Eyes
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Iain Graham

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el duderino

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Re: 13 songs....4 days
« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2007, 11:13:40 am »

i found this is the upside of using a console. I can work quicker on it and there's no instant recall to tweak forever and ever. I've been getting way too many people that want this or that up a hair, like .5db, and then change their mind two days later. if they know its not going to be the same exact mix recalled and it will take more time they usually realize nothing really needs to be done.

there's a great quote from wittman about what the mix needs and people second guessing themselves. gotta find that one.
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Iain Graham

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Re: 13 songs....4 days
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2007, 11:42:16 am »

I've always wondered whether .5dB changes really make that much difference after the mix has been mastered? Obviously several will, but 1 or 2 instruments?

So many people ask for such minor changes, and i'm always tempted to say no, it won't make a difference after mastering.
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Iain Graham

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compasspnt

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Re: 13 songs....4 days
« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2007, 07:02:14 pm »

Iain, you would be shocked then at some of the recall requests we get from the Artists.

One of them was: one syllable of one word of one vocal on one chorus had to be brought up .25...

The song would not be approved until that happened.

Then the song proceeded to sell about 12 million copies.

Hard to argue with them.
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Iain Graham

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Re: 13 songs....4 days
« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2007, 08:01:42 pm »

I've had that kind of request. Albeit without anything close to that kind of sales figure afterwards.

It's always a passing thought as I've been making these changes, but one that occurs to me very often.

I've never really tried testing the theory though.

And just to contradict myself, there are times when I'm surprsied how minute the changes can be to bring something out the mix, or to not have something too loud.

A lot of the changes I have to make or the small, usually automation type things you do as you get close to finishing the mix.

The things that get done once a song is mostly mixed, and you just keep listening to it to finish it off. Minor volume changes to suit the part and the arrangement, etc.

I just wish I could do that when mixing the track rather than having to come back and spend a day making minor changes to every song a couple of weeks later.
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Iain Graham

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j.hall

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Re: 13 songs....4 days
« Reply #19 on: February 03, 2007, 11:15:40 pm »

compasspnt wrote on Fri, 02 February 2007 18:02

Iain, you would be shocked then at some of the recall requests we get from the Artists.

One of them was: one syllable of one word of one vocal on one chorus had to be brought up .25...

The song would not be approved until that happened.

Then the song proceeded to sell about 12 million copies.

Hard to argue with them.



HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

the implication here makes the statement even better.


good thing you made that change i just consulted my crystal ball and found that had you not have done it, the album would have only sold 9 million.......or was that the voices in my head.
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compasspnt

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Re: 13 songs....4 days
« Reply #20 on: February 04, 2007, 01:11:49 am »

A couple of days after this, but before release, I gently "challenged" the artist to listen to the latest two versions (BTW, there were MANY other recall changes before this one), and tell me which was which.

The artist refused to try.



There are several reason it's "Hard to Argue."
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j.hall

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Re: 13 songs....4 days
« Reply #21 on: February 04, 2007, 10:36:19 am »

i've stopped trying.

very rarely does an artist or label want the aesthetic or feel of my mixes changed.  it's always tiny little details that only matter to them.  i couldn't care any less about that stuff.  i make all the changes and send them home smiling.

i imagine those beautiful beaches help you "unwind" more often then not.
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compasspnt

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Re: 13 songs....4 days
« Reply #22 on: February 04, 2007, 10:39:12 am »

...maybe, if there were ever time to go to one...
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wwittman

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Re: 13 songs....4 days
« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2007, 03:45:15 pm »

Iain Graham wrote on Thu, 01 February 2007 17:59

Even on records where there is a bit of time to spend on  the recording, people seem to think mixing will be an easy, quick process.

I've yet to figure out why that is.



because if it's well produced and arranged and recorded, it SHOULD be.


If I mix a whole album in 3 or 4 days, I make it clear that at that pace we make decisions and we're DONE.
no going back.

if you want to spend more time on things and agonise and nit-pick, then let's take the day a song to get things right.

if you want it spontaneous and rock and roll and like a mix performance, then gereat!
we're DONE.

no 'recalls'

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Iain Graham

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Re: 13 songs....4 days
« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2007, 06:52:30 pm »

I'd love that.

I like to think I've taken care of the well recorded.  Razz

Most of the projects I work on are self-produced/arranged.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it really doesn't.

Sometimes the artist just doesn't get it.

Projects with a producer are generally fine for that though.

I don't have the power to tell the client how we'll approach the mixing either. Yet.

It's the badly arranged and produced, tougher to mix projects that always seem to want it done quickly and then want to come back in and tweak.

Gets old quickly.
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Iain Graham

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j.hall

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Re: 13 songs....4 days
« Reply #25 on: February 05, 2007, 09:55:46 pm »

compasspnt wrote on Sun, 04 February 2007 09:39

...maybe, if there were ever time to go to one...




allow me to re-phrase.

looking at the beach through your window, or while coming and going to/from the studio, must relieve some stress......

i only get the scenery of walking through my own house down to the basement.  then again, it's good for gas mileage on my car.
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bblackwood

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Re: 13 songs....4 days
« Reply #26 on: February 05, 2007, 10:16:53 pm »

j.hall wrote on Mon, 05 February 2007 20:55

i only get the scenery of walking through my own house down to the basement.  then again, it's good for gas mileage on my car.

And the environment...
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Brad Blackwood
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